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10 Time Saving Kitchen Tips

 

Keep most often used basics stocked up in your pantry.

 

Always have often used staples around; things like flour, sugar, spices you use a lot, various cooking oils, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, various pastas, rice,  various vinegars, milk, butter and the like.  To see a list for a well-stocked pantry click on this link: Pantry Set Up.

Use some pre-packaged food and add fresh vegetables to them.

I am not a purist when it comes to using fresh Vs pre-packaged foods. While I prefer fresh, my lifestyle and my budget do not always afford me that luxury.

However, I try to use pre-packaged wisely, like I did with Quick Week Night Roast Beef. If I did not tell anyone, most people would not know that meal started with pre-packaged.

So just do it! Apologize to no one!!!.

Double a recipe and freeze half for another night or week.

This tip is good to apply in weekend cooking when time is not such an issue. Casseroles and soups lend themselves to this trick very well. However, you can do it with other meals as well such as meatloaf and spaghetti sauces.

A relative to the double a recipe is the Cook Once Eat Twice or Three Times trick.  This trick  is done best with recipes like roast chicken or roast pork, or roast beef because then you can use the leftovers as the base for other recipes through out the week. [Click the links to get the roast chicken or pork recipes. The low cost of the chicken recipe will blow your mind.]

An example of a possible roast chicken leftover is creamed chicken. Leftover roast pork can make pork fried rice and/or pork chow mein.

These two strategies make week night cooking much quicker and easier.

Before beginning to cook get all of the utensils and cooking gadgets you will need out and ready to use. Same for all of the ingredients.

I think this tip is self-explanatory. And if you are like me, you do not always do it. Then at a critical moment, you cannot find the garlic press anywhere, even though you have only one place you keep it.  The Kitchen Gremlins strike again.

I am a work in progress. I try!

Plan all of your menus for at least a 3-day period.

If you can plan for a full week that is even better. Then you can buy all of your groceries at one time and be done with it.  It also means you don’t have to worry the night before, or while you are at work, “What can I fixing for dinner tonight?”

You can change your mind from your plan. But that is much easier to do than to plan from scratch.

The only caveat for that is buying fresh vegetables. Some vegetables are  best bought on the day you want to use them. I don’t know why, but many vegetables seem to have a shorter refrigerator life these days than they used to. So I often buy veggies on the day I need them, even though it means an inefficient  return trip to the grocery store. That is preferable to wasting food in my book.

Keep a running grocery list.

When you see you are running low on some thing add it to a running grocery list so that you don’t have an ~Oooppps~ moment in the middle of cooking something. I have mine hanging on my freezer door.

Get other people involved in fixing dinner including the kids.

A family meal doesn’t mean just eating together. And it certainly doesn’t mean you have no help. It also means other family members help out, even if that is just setting the table. I may have flunked scissor cutting in 5th grade, but I peeled enough potatoes, carrots, and onions for my mother, that I am now an expert at that.

Use gadgets that only really save you time.

Don’t just buy the latest gadget because it is new or on sale. Use gadgets that you find useful. Many people have drawers full of  kitchen gadgets they never use. I see plenty of them at resale shops all the time.

My philosophy is, if it takes longer to get it out, set it up, and clean it afterwards it is not generally worth my time to use it. Except for making pesto, which is why I got a small one, I seldom use a processor for this very reason. On the other hand, however, I could not live without my zesters and my garlic press.

Organize garbage too.

A friend of mine always kept a grocery store plastic bag on her kitchen counter and placed trash in during the day. I thought that was  a great idea and used it for several years.

Then I saw Rachael Ray and her garbage bowl. I liked that idea except for one thing. She drains canned foods liquid into the bowl. What that meant to me is that somewhere down the line I would have to get rid of that liquid. And with all the other trash in the bowl that would not be a fun job.

Not only am I lazy, friends. I do not like to deal with messes. UGH!!!

Voilà!  I combined my friend’s plastic bag with Rachael’s garbage bowl. Except for liquids, which I drain into a cup or straight into the sink, everything now goes in a garbage bowl lined with a grocery store plastic bag. Then when it is full, I tie it up and throw it away. I do not have to buy plastic trash bags and so I save both money and the environment.

I keep the garbage bowl in the sink next to the counter where I use my cutting board.  I peel, chop, cut or dice and put the waste straight into the garbage bowl. How easy is that?

On weeknights cook only simple, fast and easy dishes.

Tip # 10 speaks for itself.

What Time Saving kitchen tips do you have? Leave your tips in the Comments Section below.

Featured Recipe   Rice with Egg and Soy-Orange Sauce

This is a fast and easy recipe to make. Since there is no meat, it also is very budget friendly. Both rice and eggs are inexpensive yet delicious and filling. I would say this recipe is down right cheap, but somehow that leaves the wrong impression.

Orange juice and soy sauce make a heavenly inspired combination. For me at least, I already have most of the recipe ingredients already in my pantry. All I had to buy to make this recipe was the orange, red onion, and the green onions.

This is also a good recipe for when you have left over rice you do not know what to do with.

This is what you will need for 3 people:

For the Sauce

¼ cup fresh orange juice

Zest of 1 orange, divided – save some for garnish on the rice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons sherry (optional, can substitute rice vinegar or omit all together)

For the Rice and Eggs

Rice for 3 people

1 small or half a medium red onion

1 clove garlic

2-3 tablespoons butter

3 green onions

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

3 eggs

Here is what you do:

FIRST cook the rice according to package directions.

NOTE: You can use left over rice. Just bring it to room temperature before adding to the recipe.

NOTE 2: You can also make the sauce the night before to save even more time.

For the Sauce

Zest the orange. Reserve a few teaspoons of the zest for garnish and set aside.

Cut the orange in half and squeeze  ¼ cup of juice.

Whisk all sauce ingredients, except the reserved zest, together until well mixed. Set aside.

For the Rice and Eggs

Chop the onion into a small to medium dice. Run the garlic through a garlic press.

Also slice the washed and cleaned green onions on a diagonal. Set the green onions aside to use for garnish on the finished dish.

When the rice is done……

…..melt the butter over medium low heat and sauté the garlic and red onion until they begin to get soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the cooked rice and mix it into the butter, onion and garlic. You may need to add a bit more butter. I added a teaspoon more.

While the onions are sautéing and the rice is being reheated, heat the olive oil in another large skillet until very hot. Add the eggs and immediately turn the heat down to very low and cook the eggs over low heat until you just see the edges of the eggs starting to turn light brown. I also trim the whites of the eggs to make them a bit rounder.

When the eggs are cooked to your liking and the rice is warm place a scoop or two of rice on a plate for each person and place one egg on the rice. Garnish with the diced green onion.

Drizzle some of the sauce over all. Top with some of the reserved orange zest.

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

For the Sauce

¼ cup fresh orange juice                  $0.69

Zest of 1 orange, divided                   ——

2 tablespoons soy sauce                   $0.36

1 tablespoon brown sugar                $0.06

2 teaspoons sherry                          $0.10

For the Rice and Eggs

Rice for 3 people                             $0.52

1 Half a medium red onion               $0.35

1 clove garlic                                  $0.10

2-3 tablespoons butter                     $0.24

3 green onions                                $0.21

1-2 tablespoons olive oil                   $0.24

3 eggs                                            $0.45

Total cost =                                 $2.87

Cost per person =                       $0.96

Quote of the Day

If its sanity you are after there is no recipe like laughter.

Henry Eliot

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